A month ago I posted about my Random Act of Kindness issue, and granted I was beyond stressed at work, but the comments drove me batty for the most part.
I love you guys, I really do, but I must have been having trouble conveying the difference between random acts of kindness and random acts of charity, because 90% of the comments were of a charitable nature rather than kindness nature.
Then I let go of the ire and focused on what was really happening.
While at first I chaffed at the notion that not everyone was worthy or deserving of kindness, I quickly realized that the issue wasn’t the kindness, the issue was the money.
With spare cash to hand out, we panic, we freeze.
I’ve had that $100 burning a hole in my pocket for a month.
I wanted to do something nice for someone at the airport. I did. I kept my family away from as many people as possible to keep from spreading the stomach flu more than absolutely necessary.
I wanted to pay for some coffee at Starbucks. I never found the right opening.
I would have paid for someone’s food in a drive-thru line. There are none that we ever frequent.
I would have paid for someone’s gas, but the logistics were beyond me. I couldn’t leave the kids in the car to go inside and pay.
I made up for it in a ton of little ways – holding doors, smiling at strangers, chatting up people. I even gave computer support to a Starbucks patron! But I never doled out the cash.
After a month it finally occurred to me that it’s not the recipients that are the issue – we’re all worth of kindness. It’s the money. When you throw money in the mix it shifts the balance.
If I smile at four people and turn their serious looks upside down, odds are they’ll smile at four people themselves, and keep the smile ball rolling. But if I buy someone coffee and ask him to pay it forward, I’ve essentially indebted him to someone, not something I feel good about.
So I’m eating my words. And I’m taking the $100 and conducting a random act of charity. One that makes me feel like I’m also doing a random act of kindness.
Did you know that diapers aren’t covered by WIC in California? So you can get formula and food for your kids, but you have to pay for diapers out of pocket? Consider how many diapers a child goes through in a childhood. (Also, please remember that you can’t wash diapers in laundromats and that diaper services are more expensive than disposables.)
A woman showed up at a local shelter last month and told the shelter director that she had been limiting her baby’s food and liquid intake so he wouldn’t use as many diapers.
She was limiting his food and water intake because she didn’t have diapers.
And I have $100 I don’t know what to do with.
I can’t donate $100 every month, but on the months I can, I’ll be donating to Help a Mother Out, a local organization that donates diapers to women’s shelters.
For the mom it’s a random act of charity. For the child… a random act of kindness. It’s a solution I can live with.
Do you have a random act of kindness to share? Spread the word and inspire others on the Yahoo! Ripples of Kindness site.
Please note. I promised $50 to two commentors on the last post. I still haven’t awarded that money. I’ll pick two people at random tomorrow night, so if you want a chance to get $50 for a random act of kindness – or yes, charity of your own – go forth and comment.